Dream holiday diary #3

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Friday

I woke up this morning 15 minutes before our scheduled wake up call at 5:30 – Call me an eager beaver but I was so excited to get going on our early morning game drive. The guard came to collect us and we walked to the main eating area. Guests are served a light snack before they leave for the morning game drives so we had some fruit, a muffin and a quick coffee before heading out. There was a cheeky baboon bouncing between the trees while I had my morning smoke so my first cup of coffee was already filled with some excitement (and fear!)  I’m terrified of baboons and was ready to run back inside the second I heard their feet touch the deck. They ask you to please keep your doors and windows closed & locked when you are not in your room as baboons have gotten into the rooms several times. They end up messing up the whole place, jumping around on the beds, trying on guests’ clothes, and of course raiding the mini bar! Hahaha, we’ll definitely keep ours locked ;)

It is fairly chilly in the mornings so they told us to wear warm clothes for the morning game drive. They are so efficient here though, they literally think of EVERYTHING. There is a hot water bottle & a blanket waiting for you in the land rover. Man I was stoked to see that hot water bottle:) They also provide water for you, as well as tea, coffee, rusks & biscuits when you stop for a Puza break on the morning game drive.

Our first stop was to see the lion with his mate who were making so much noise last night. We caught them mating but they weren’t too happy that we disturbed them and moved off.

 

The rangers all chat to each other via their radio to find out where the latest sightings are and also to coordinate which vehicle gets a chance to see the animal and in which order. It is first come-first seen as they don’t overcrowd the animal and are only permitted to have two vehicles at a time at any spotting. I found this to be perfect as I remember in Pilanesburg it just seemed too commercial, with between 10-20 vehicles all following one animal. Its not cool as the animal is then put under too much stress. We heard some information come through – they use code names to discuss the animals so the guests in the rovers don’t know what you’re about to see! It makes it more exciting and I suppose people also don’t get their hopes up and then the animal is lost or you don’t get a chance to see it.

We were alerted to a female leopard in the area who had killed a Nyala or Impala and hoisted it up a tree the night before, and she was sleeping nearby, so we went to go take a look. We couldn’t get a great visual for photographs, as she was sleeping and wasn’t getting up anytime soon, but she was so beautiful!  I had seen everything except Leopard when I went to Pilanesburg with my family in 1998, so this was really special for me.

We then looked up the tree at what was left of the little Nyala… lol. Shame. Just a few dangling legs!

We then spotted some Rhino as we were making our way to a herd of buffalo. Rhino are really huge! A bit dinosaur looking but absolutely phenomenal. It is hard to imagine there are people out there who are plotting to kill them for greed. What’s wrong with some people?!

The herd of buffalo was super impressive, especially when they are all around you. The little babies were too cute for words!

Johnny then took us on a stealth mission to find another animal – he wouldn’t tell us what! We rounded the corner and met up with the other ranger, and I gasped as I spotted him! Gorgeous young male leopard sitting right by our car! Two leopards in one day? Unreal!! He gave himself a good clean & scratch while we watched. How gorgeous is he:)

 

For the afternoon game drive, we had 5 more guests on our rover (before it was just Rich, me, Johnny & Dan – which was really cool and exclusive) but it’s actually really fun having more people with us now!  There is a really great couple from Cape Town, and a family of 3 from Italy.

The first animals we spot is a herd of elephant. These are such majestic animals… wow. Sooo huge yet so gentle (except to trees!) I just love them. It was pretty damn exciting being less than 4 metres away from these giants who could easily have pushed over our vehicle!

 

There is talk of a pride of lions who have made their way from the East, so we go in search of them. They were last spotted in an open field… but we can’t find them anywhere. After driving around the area for about 20 minutes and still no sight, Johnny & Dan leave the rover on foot to see if they can track them. Ummm. HELLO? You’re leaving us ALONE? In an area where there is supposedly a pride of LIONS?

The Cape Tonian starts cracking jokes about Dan & Johnny donning lion suits and pretending to be lions with a fake lion call recording. We semi-anxiously wait in the car whilst keeping a good look out for anything potentially menacing coming our way. After about ten minutes we spot Dan with another tracker making his way up a field across the way from us. Johnny joins us in the car and we drive over to that side. Yay they have found the pride! Wow, there are 4 females and one young male, who happens to be enjoying something rather dodgy looking, I think it was a warthog’s nose. It looks like they have just had a good meal as their tummies are full. *at least we’re safe then!*

A few minutes after we join them, the mom gets up and starts making her way to a small dam for a drink. The little female looks on as if to say “MOM, where you GOING? Wait I’m coming with!!”. The other females follow with the male staying behind for a bit, he’s enjoying his food too much! He begrudgingly gets up after a few minutes and starts running after his mom & sisters. That has got to be one of the best & cutest things I have ever seen in my life. This cute young lion just running along with this dead animal hanging out his mouth. These amazing experiences are starting to get too much for me:) we have only been on holiday for 3 days and I feel like I am in another world. What am I saying – this is another world. Utterly breathtaking.

I asked Johnny if they had Zebra here and he promised to show me some tomorrow! Yay!

We head back to camp and have a few drinks at the bar with the other guests and the rangers before being shown to our exclusive bush dinner. Sooo romantic! What an absolutely serene setting, eating dinner by candlelight surrounded by the wild.  After our super romantic dinner, we head back to the room and open the door to find a pathway of candles leading to our bathroom. This place is unbelievable! They think of EVERYTHING to make your stay amazing.

 
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